#43 大人になるとは Adulthood
Rev: Mao Shimizu 清水まお
The other day, a friend of mine in Japan sent me a message with a picture in an e-mail saying, "My son has come of age!" and sent me a message with a picture in an e-mail. The last time I saw him was 5-6 years ago, I believe. It seemed like he had just started junior high school, so I was honestly surprised. When I was about to put my finger on the keyboard to reply that it had grown so big, my eyes caught a large number candle standing on the attached birthday cake.
I remembered that the age of adulthood was lowered in Japan last year. As I looked at the picture of him, who had grown taller and bigger, but still looked like a childlike youth who had just graduated from high school, I realized that the word "adulthood" had a great meaning.
For about 140 years since the Meiji era (1868-1912), the age of adulthood in Japan had been set by the Civil Code at 20 years old. This Civil Code has been revised, and as of April 1, 2022, the age of adulthood has changed from 20 to 18. This allows people to vote in elections, use cell phones, and sign contracts to rent apartments without the consent of their parents. If you are the one who decides whether or not to sign a contract, you are also the one who is responsible for that contract. It seems that the world understands that making your own decisions and taking responsibility for them is a big step toward becoming an adult.
It is no exaggeration to say that the Bible used by Christians is actually a written contract. When you open the Bible, it is divided into two main sections. The Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old and New Testaments means "covenant," and "Lord" means "God of the covenant." God the Lord made a covenant with us human beings. Covenants usually come with many conditions. Many people have an image of Christians as clean, righteous, and beautiful, so they think, "I want to be a Christian, but I am not a good person and I have done things that I can't tell people about." So many people feel that people like me.... Jesus Christ said this in the Bible.
A healthy person does not need a doctor. It is the sick who need a doctor. ...I came not for those who think they are righteous, but to turn sinners back to God." (From Matthew 9:12)
The Bible speaks of "sin" as living selfishly, seeking only one's own gain, without knowing the Creator who made us. Jesus Christ tells us that we cannot experience true happiness in life if we do what we want, seek what we want, and pursue our own happiness over others. The first step in meeting Jesus Christ is to look inside your own heart and realize that you are selfish and helpless, trying to live by egoism. Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation when you cannot save yourself. What were we born for and what do we do to live? The Bible tells us the answer to that question.
When we decide to rely on the great love of Jesus Christ and not on our own enlightenment, we are making a covenant with God. And there are no conditions for becoming a Christian. He loves unconditionally those who believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord. And no matter how much we fail and sin again, God will not break His covenant. He forgives and loves again and again.
I would like to give a hearty cheer to the young people who are about to take the first step into adulthood, where they will make their own choices in life. And I want to be there to gladly support and encourage the young people with all my might.